[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 June, 2003, 19:56 GMT 20:56 UK
Polish authorities fine abortion ship
The Langenort had not received permission to dock and could still be asked to leave
The boat arrived on Sunday without receiving permission to dock
Polish authorities have given a $3,000 fine to a visiting boat operated by a Dutch abortion rights group.

"The boat [the Langenort] breached procedures for entering the port and did not obey the orders of the port commander," Kazimierz Undro, the commander of Wladyslawowo port said.

"I asked it to move to another part of the port where it would be sheltered from a group of people who were hostile to its arrival," he added.

Protesters flung red paint and eggs at the ship Dutch ship when it entered the port on Sunday.

The Polish feminist who organised the boat's visit, Justyna Wlodarczyk, said organisers were hoping to be allowed to pay a deposit and leave.

"According to our legal experts we have the right to pay a guarantee and go to sea, while appealing the decision," she said.

But Mr Undro said: "The boat will not have the right to leave the port if it has not paid the fine [of 12,000 zlotys or 2,700 euros]."

The boat - dubbed a floating abortion clinic by Polish demonstrators - arrived in the port on Sunday "to offer Polish women advice on contraceptives."

According to our legal experts we have the right to pay a guarantee and go to sea
Justyna Wlodarczyk, boat visit organiser

It is crewed by members of the Netherlands-based Women on Waves group who have previously offered abortion pills to women after leaving nations with strict anti-abortion laws for international waters.

The use of abortion pills is banned in Poland. Under Polish law, terminations are only allowed when the pregnancy threatens a woman's mental or physical health, the foetus is damaged or in the cases of rape or incest.

"RU-486 [abortion] pills were sealed during a search of the boat on Monday because importing them, distributing them and using them is illegal in Poland," customs spokeswoman Jolanta Twardowska said.

The ship's visit angered Poland's influential Roman Catholic Church and anti-abortion groups that have asked prosecutors to investigate if it violates Poland's law.

In 2001, Women on Waves took another boat to predominantly Roman Catholic Ireland, but called off plans to offer RU-486 following last-minute legal and logistical complications.

No abortions on 'abortion ship'
15 Jun 01  |  Europe
Viewpoints: Population control
30 Jun 99  |  World population

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific